Entertainment & Arts

Strictly Ballroom musical to be staged in Leeds

Stage production of Strictly Ballroom Image copyright Jeff Busby

Strictly Ballroom: The Musical is to be staged in the UK for the first time.

The show was created by Baz Luhrmann, who also directed a film version in 1992.

Drew McOnie will direct and choreograph the production, which opens at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in November.

Strictly Ballroom tells the story of a championship ballroom dancer who risks his career by performing unusual routines in his own maverick style.

The stage version has already toured extensively around Luhrmann's home country Australia, with residencies in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

It earned a mixed bag of reviews when it opened in 2014, with some critics claiming it "sparkles but falls short".

Songs included in the musical's score include Love is in the Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and Time After Time.

But the updated production also features new songs by Sia, David Foster and Australian singer-songwriter Eddie Perfect.

Baz Luhrmann said: "One of the great joys for us was to take a story that began as a play when I was at drama school and return to our homeland in Australia to birth the musical stage version with all our original collaborators. Now that it's been born, Strictly Ballroom must go on."

Drew McOnie, who has previously choreographed Hairspray and In The Heights, described the opportunity to direct and choreograph the show as a "dream come true".

"The film Strictly Ballroom has had such a huge impact on me. It inspired me as an 8-year-old dancer to follow my choreographic instinct," she said.

Luhrmann devised the play with a group of students in 1984, but Strictly Ballroom found its biggest success in 1992, when a film version was widely praised at the Cannes Film Festival.

The movie went on to win three Baftas and became a huge box office hit.

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